22 Jul GS 2013 art 21
GS 2013 Article 21 – Église Réformée du Québec (ERQ)
Committee 4 presented a second draft report on the ERQ. A discussion followed and some small changes were made with this result:
- 1.1. Report from the CCCNA re: the ERQ (8.2.3)
- 1.2. Letters from the churches at Ancaster (126.96.36.199), Attercliffe (188.8.131.52), Carman-West (184.108.40.206), Fergus-Maranatha (220.127.116.11), London (18.104.22.168) and Calgary (22.214.171.124)
- 2.1. Synod Burlington 2010 gave the CCCNA the following mandate in regard to the ERQ (Acts, Article 29, Recommendation 4.2):
- [4.2.1.] To continue the relationship of EF with the ERQ under the adopted rules;
- [4.2.2.] To share information about the nature and development of its dialogue with the ERQ.
- 2.2. On a number of occasions, the CCCNA reports that it provided advice and input when requested to do so by the Committee on Inter-Church Relations (CICR) of the ERQ.
- 2.3. When asked for input, the CCCNA reports that it recommended that the ERQ establish EF with the OPC; this was subsequently done.
- 2.4. When asked for input, the CCCNA recommended that the ERQ establish EF with the URCNA; this was subsequently done.
- 2.5. The CCCNA notes the ERQ has established EF with the PCA.
- 2.6. Delegates of the CCCNA met with the CICR at a meeting of NAPARC in 2010 and also attended the ERQ Synods in 2010, 2011and 2012.
- 2.7. The CCCNA inquired about the supervision of the pulpit in the ERQ and learned that the practice is that the local consistory exercises such supervision. The CCCNA observes that the ERQ Synod of 2012 adopted a proposal from the ministry committee that a local council has the liberty to invite a preacher of its choice, with the council assuming the responsibility to ensure such a preacher’s doctrinal and pastoral integrity.
- 2.8. The CCCNA notes that at the ERQ Synod of 2012, proposals that would confirm that a guest preacher in the ERQ has been ordained, has subscribed to the confessions and/or is a minister from a church with whom the ERQ has EF, were not adopted.
- 2.9. The CCCNA notes with gratitude that the ERQ has adopted another liturgical form, namely, the Form for Profession of Faith and Adult Baptism.
- 2.10. Attercliffe wants to caution the ERQ against “reaching out to so many other churches,” because of the time and energy involved in such relations.
- 2.11. Attercliffe wants to point out to the ERQ the dangers in having relations with churches such as the CRCNA and the PCA federations “that have deviated from the Reformed faith.”
- 2.12. The church at Ancaster observes that from the CCCNA report, it seems that the matters of admission to the Lord’s Supper and supervision of the pulpit have not been discussed with the ERQ “in a purposeful and vigorous way,” as Synod Burlington encouraged. Ancaster recommends that these two matters continue to be discussed.
- 2.13. Attercliffe, Fergus-Maranatha and Carman-West voice a concern about the local supervision of the pulpit in the ERQ, as this practice was expressed in the decision of the 2012 ERQ Synod.
- 2.14. Attercliffe requests the CCCNA to “encourage the ERQ to make clear that their position on women in office is in line with the Reformed conviction,” while Fergus-Maranatha suggests that an admonition of the ERQ is in place because of “women in office” (specifically women deacons) in the ERQ.
- 2.15. London questions if the CCCNA deputies were consulted when the ERQ entered into EF with the PCA, with whom the CanRC does not have EF.
- 2.16. Fergus-Maranatha expresses a concern with Sunday observance in the ERQ, in that worship services are held only once per Sunday.
- 2.17. The churches who addressed letters to Synod regarding the ERQ are grateful for the relationship that we enjoy with them. Calgary and Attercliffe are grateful for the evident desire in the ERQ to be truly Reformed churches and encourages Synod to direct the CCCNA to continue to work with the ERQ to support their good development as a faithful church of Jesus Christ.
- 2.18. The CCCNA recommends that Synod decide:
- [1.] To thank the Lord for the faithful Reformed witness provided in and by the ERQ;
- [2.] To mandate the CCCNA to continue the relationship of Ecclesiastical Fellowship with the ERQ under the adopted rules.
- 3.1. It is evident that the CCCNA has been active in maintaining the relationship with the ERQ. The committee has had dialogue with the CICR on a number of issues pertaining to church life and ecclesiastical relationships.
- 3.2. The ERQ is to be commended for seeking unity with other faithful churches, such as the CanRC, the OPC and the URCNA. The ERQ does not have EF with the CRCNA. The CCCNA should have provided more information about their interaction with the CICR with respect to the ERQ establishing EF with the PCA.
- 3.3. Some of the matters for discussion with the ERQ raised by the churches are valid and need to continue to be addressed in the context of Rule 1 of EF. With respect to the supervision of the pulpit, the decision of the ERQ Synod 2012 is indicative that there is room for further discussion between our respective committees on the importance of the ERQ ensuring the Reformed character of all preaching from its pulpits. Likewise, the matter of admission to the Lord’s table ought to be the subject of continued dialogue between the CCCNA and the CICR.
- 3.4. With respect to women deacons, it should be pointed out that in the ERQ, while such women are ordained, they do not hold a position of ruling authority in the church. This is also a matter for ongoing discussion within the ERQ.
- 3.5. With respect to Sunday observance in the ERQ, Fergus-Maranatha should realize that while there is a variety of practice in the ERQ, some of the congregations have a catechetical session in addition to the worship service.
- 3.6. The ERQ did consult with the CCCNA prior to entering into EF with the PCA.
That Synod decide:
- 4.1. To thank the CCCNA for its efforts in maintaining our relationship with the ERQ;
- 4.2. To thank the Lord for the faithful Reformed witness provided in and by the ERQ;
- 4.3. To mandate the CCCNA to continue the relationship of EF with the ERQ under the adopted rules, giving particular attention to the matters of supervision of the pulpit, admission to the Lord’s table and women deacons (in particular, the ordination of) and to provide an account of its dialogue with the ERQ.
Synod adjourned for committee work.